Fernando Alonso is “one of the great talents in the history of” Formula 1, that’s according to Emerson Fittipaldi.
After two years away from the sport, the Spaniard leaving F1 at the end of 2018 citing his disappointment with the lack of competition, he is back on the grid this season.
Signing a one-year deal with Alpine, the former Renault team with whom he won his 2005 and 2006 World titles, the team included an option for next season, an option they are already considering exericising.
While Alonso’s return got off to a slow start, the driver losing to his team-mate Esteban Ocon in the opening few races, he has gone on a charge of late.
Stringing together a run of five top-tens, which started with a season’s best result of P6 at the Azerbaijan GP, Alonso is up to 11th place in the Drivers’ Championship.
His ability on the track has the caught the attention of his rivals with Daniel Ricciardo saying his racecraft has “been the best on the grid” at times this season.
It has also impressed double F1 champion Fittipaldi.
“Yes, I think he is,” he told bettingexpert.es.
“He has shown it by being very competitive again after two years away.
“He has shown his ability to adapt to a different team again.
“He had a hard time in the first few grands prix, but now he’s getting stronger and stronger.”
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The 74-year-old believes Alonso is the key to help the Enstone team return to being a race winning outfit.
“He is going to help the team develop the car, for sure,” he added. “He is clearly one of the great talents in the history of this sport, even though he has won ‘only’ two World Championships.”
Alpine chief executive officer Laurent Rossi recently said Alonso is doing everything right to retain his seat for the 2022 season.
“He is doing great,” Rossi told BBC Sport in an exclusive interview.
“He is as fast as ever. He is certainly extracting the most out of the car.
“The car is not incredibly fast and he still manages to get some super-hot laps and qualify the car very well. So far, so good.”
Asked whether Alonso would stay for 2022, Rossi said: “He is doing everything for me to consider exercising this [contractual] option.”